LEXINGTON — Kayla Gonzales knows what’s waiting next week and the Shelby senior is ready for the challenge.

Gonzales swept the distance events at Saturday’s Division II Lexington regional meet, setting the table for next week’s state meet at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. She won the 1,600 in a personal-best 5:02.71 and set a new PR in winning the 3,200 in 11:05.62.

Gonzales was second in the 1,600 at last week’s Ontario sectional, finishing behind Huron’s Kennedy Schlessman. Gonzales turned the tables this week, finishing slightly more than a second ahead of Schlessman.

“Going in, I knew we were going to be together for most of the race,” Gonzales said. “I knew it would come down to the last 200 meters. She’s a really good runner and I knew it would come down to the kick at the end.

“We were talking before the race and we both want to go sub-five. That’s the goal.”

The girls 1,600 field at next week’s state meet will be loaded. Dayton Oakwood’s Bella Butler won the Piqua regional title in 4:52.46. Piqua runner-up Samantha Erbach of Waynesville finished in 4:58.58.

“There are some really fast girls out there,” said Gonzales, who finished eighth in the 1,600 at last year’s state meet. “I’m hoping to get All-Ohio again.”

As she did last week at Ontario, Gonzales ran away from the field in the 3,200. She beat runner-up Olivia Kindbom of Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary by almost 10 seconds.

Lexington freshman Brailey Slone earned the fourth and final state berth in the 3,200, finishing in 11:31.57.

“I was kind of nervous because all of the other girls were older than me,” Slone said. “Coming in as a freshman, I’ve only run the two-mile two times before this. I didn’t have a lot of experience running it.”

Slone helped Lexington’s 4×800 relay team to a second-place finish and a state berth on the opening day of the the Lex regional Thursday. The foursome of Slone, Kenley Miller, Lily Wolfe and Elyana Weaver finished in 9:37.72.

“It’s exciting to qualify for state as an individual and as part of a (relay) team,” Slone said. “One of my goals was to make it to state as a freshman and to do it in the two-mile and the four-by-eight is amazing.”

Weaver took first in the 800 in a Personal Record 2:17.52 after finishing third at last week’s Ontario district. She shaved almost two seconds off her previous best.

“I definitely didn’t expect it. That was just surreal,” Weaver said. “I’m extremely happy with my time. That’s my all-time PR.”

Shelby’s Channon Cundiff finished fourth in the 800, finishing in a PR 2:19.58.

“My past PR was a 2:21, so I was very happy with my time” Cundiff said. “It feels amazing.”

Clear Fork’s Joe Stupka qualified for state in three events. He finished third in the 100 (10.88), second in the 400 (48.45) and third in the 200 (21.82).

“I’m happy with how I ran today,” Stupka said. “My legs were a little tired, but I had to suck it up and get the job done.”

Shelby’s Madison Henkel and Huck Finnegan punched their tickets to the state meet in a pair of events. A freshman, Henkel finished third in the long jump with a leap of 17-3.75 and was a member of the third-place 4×100 relay team, joining with Alainah Carmel, Jaleeza Zehner and Ava Bowman to finish third in 49.73.

“I PR’d in the long jump today, so I’m really happy,” Henkel said. “It feels great to qualify in the long jump and the 4-by-1.”

Finnegan won the 3,200 in 9:43.25 and was a member of Shelby’s 4×800 relay team. The foursome of Marshall Moore, Luke Dinninger, Indy Mayer and Finnegan finished second in 8:06.63 Thursday.

Finnegan qualified for state in the 3,200 and the 4×800 relay last year. He was ninth in the 3,200 and helped the 4×800 team to a fifth-place finish.

“That experience definitely helps,” Finnegan said. “If you’re running at Jesse Owens (Memorial Stadium) for the first time, it can be overwhelming.”

Other individual state qualifiers included Galion’s Miranda Stone and Linkon Tyrrell and Ontario’s Miles Meisse. Stone was second in the shot put Thursday with a throw of 41-11.25. Tyrrell was fourth in the 110 hurdles in 14.96, while Meisse finished third in the 1,600 in 4:28.84.

“It is pretty awesome to have one more week to compete,” said Meisse, who placed sixth at state in the 800 last year. “I wanted to run a little faster, but honestly I’m happy just to be going back to state.”

Ontario’s girls 4×400 relay team of Arialyn Bischak, Adi Turnbaugh, Sash Bulakovski and Ally Potter grabbed the fourth and final state-qualifying spot, finishing in 4:01.74.

The Lexington girls 4×200 team of Allison Laury, Josalynn Patterson, Makenna Arnholt and Emily Thomas was second in 1:44.78. Galion’s boys 4×100 crew of Gabe Ivy, Jack Hart, Zach Salleee and Jacob Chambers was third in 43.26.

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